12/31/16

Tom Brennan - WHAT ABOUT DAVE ROSEBOOM FOR METS' LOOGY?

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Tom Brennan - WHAT ABOUT DAVE ROSEBOOM FOR METS' LOOGY?

People wonder who our LOOGY will be next year in the Mets' pen in Queens.  

Jerry Blevins? Boone Logan?  Both costly.  Both aging a bit.

May I suggest, as an alternative: DAVE ROSEBOOM?

Lefty Dave put up spectacular numbers in AA last year: 
52 games, 1.87 ERA, 14 of 15 saves.

Lefties crushed him - oh, sorry, it was the other way around, with them hitting just .141 (11 for 78, with 30 Ks) against the Boomer.  Can you say SWISH?

Knowing how much Sandy and Terry love experience, and love not having guys skip AAA, I have to say that nevertheless, Roseboom earned real consideration - he rocked AA last year, and at minimum wage, far cheaper than Blevins and Logan, maybe he and Edgin duke it out, or both make the opening day 2017 pen.

If he makes it, there may be a rose boom to help the Trump economy in 2017.



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Reese Kaplan -- Death by Vegas

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T.J. Rivera, Brandon Nimmo, Gavin Cecchini and Kevin Plawecki all hit well over .300 while swinging the bats in the Las Vegas desert.  In limited samples Rivera did so in Queens, too, with a .333 AVG over a 105 AB trial.  Nimmo had just 73 ABs to show what he could do and managed a respectable .274.  Cecchini got only 6 ABs for the season but managed hits in 2 of them…to put that in perspective, Logan Verrett had more than 3 times as many ABs as did Cecchini.  Kevin Plawecki did get chances – 132 of them to be precise – and didn’t reach the Mendoza line. 

So what does this tell us about Las Vegas as a hitter’s paradise?  Want some more evidence?  How about Ty Kelly who hit an impressive .328 in Las Vegas but just .241 for the Mets?  Then there’s the gone but not forgotten soup man, Eric Campbell, who was a Las Vegas superstar, hitting .363 and .301 his last two stints in Sin City, but failed to crack the Mendoza line in 2015 or 2016 in the majors.  Even Johnny Monell in Las Vegas hit .324 and .276 in Vegas but only managed .167 in the majors over a 48 AB trial. 

Pitching is another matter entirely.  Take year end wunderkind Seth Lugo.  He was on the path to anonymity with a Las Vegas line of 3-4, 6.50 ERA and a ghastly 1.677 WHIP.  He comes to the majors at age 27 and responds with a late season stat line of 5-2, 2.67 and a tidy 1.094 WHIP. 

Robert Gsellman had a good pitching pedigree right up until Las Vegas.  He finished the rookie season going 4-2 with a 2.42 ERA.  In the minors he was 34-31 with a 3.11 career ERA but in Las Vegas it ballooned to 5.73. 

Not too many flourish in Las Vegas.  For some, it’s the end of the road.  Take Darin Gorski who in 2011 pitched to a 2.08 ERA in Port St. Lucie.  In 2013 after missing time due to injury he returned with a 1.83 in AA and then a 2.22.  Then came the wall in Las Vegas.  He gave stints of 6.59, 4.56 and 5.52 and 5.90 over parts of 4 seasons.  Those are outstanding numbers prior to Vegas and then he falls apart against better competition…or do the inflated hitting stats mess with a pitcher’s head and success?

Want an even better example, think about Rafael Montero.  He was on cruise control towards an All-Star career, with an 18-11 record and a 2.22 ERA over his Rookie, A and AA career.  His WHIP and strikeout numbers were impressive, too.  He was allowing less than a baserunner per inning pitched and fanning about 8.5 per 9 IP.  Then came Vegas.  It got ugly.  In the majors it got worse for the most part but there were a few starts where he showed that brilliance that had him on the fast track.  Last year it got so bad he got demoted to AA again where he once more flourished with a 2.20 ERA.  So is it that he’s unable to handle the stiffer offensive competition in AAA or is the hitter friendly environment messing with his head?

Another good case is Sean Gilmartin, one of Terry Collins’ doghouse puppies.  After staying on the roster for all of 2015 and delivering a 2.67 ERA over 50 games he didn’t even get to come north with the team.  Left to rot in Las Vegas, he did just that – a 9-7 record with a 4.86 ERA – and a brief return to the majors showed what that had done to him – a 7.13 ERA over a 17 IP 2016 trial. 

So why do the Mets stay in Las Vegas given the geographic issues, the hitting numbers that make Coors Field look like a pitcher’s park and the sometimes irreparable damage it does to is pitchers?  Granted, there are a finite number of pre-approved cities where AAA baseball operations take place and you kind of have to wait for a stadium/team affiliation deal to expire before you could explore relocating, but the rest of the baseball world knows your hitting prospects aren’t worth much and you’re trashing otherwise valuable pitching trade chips by making their numbers tank.  It’s a ponderous thing that they have not only endured this environment since moving from Buffalo for the start of the 2013 season, but also twice extended their agreement.  They’re now contractually bound to their AAA hell through the end of the 2018 season.  Like many things related to the Mets, you have to wonder if there is an actual plan for the future.
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12/30/16

Tom Brennan – Can TJ Become JT?

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Tom Brennan – Can TJ Become JT?

TJ Rivera has been given Rodney Dangerfield’s uniform by the Mets since Day 1, when he went undrafted.

There have always been infield guys ahead of him, and he had to fight for playing time in the minors constantly…but he fought – successfully - by HITTING.

Hey, he led AAA in hitting in 2016, and hit .333 in a long cup of coffee with the Mets late in the season when he FINALLY GOT CALLED UP – long after Campbell, Reynolds, and Muno did.

The question is: can TJ become JT?

In other words, can the Justin Turner model that leads to major league extended playing time and riches become the TJ Rivera model?  If I were TJ, I would have JT as my future model for sure.

Let’s run through Turner’s career, shall we?  Then compare his career to where Rivera is at, and make suggestions for the latter based on the production of the former.

Monsieur Turner had many similarities to Rivera to this point in Rivera’s career:

Turner made the majors late (a few months short of 25), while Rivera made it 3 years later – both late arrivals.  But Turner only had 841 major league at bats before his age 29 season, so Rivera is less behind Turner than it might first appear, in terms of career progress vs. age.

Turner was a 7th rounder in 2006, while Rivera was undrafted.  Historically, my sense is that 7th rounders do better than non-draftees, but not by all that much.  Neither is expected to do much as a major leaguer, or they’d have been drafted in early rounds.

Turner is listed at 5’11”, 205, Rivera at 6’1”, 205.  Similar in size.

Turner hit well in the minors, but with a real lack of power.  1,999 at bats, 38 homers, .308/.373.441. 

Rivera in the minors? 2,415 at bats, 35 homers, .324/.371/.434 …quite similar to Turner, wouldn’t ya say?.

Turner’s first four years in the majors with the Mets (plus an 18 at bat debut with the Orioles in 2009), he was a very low powered, OK hitter: 841 at bats, just 8 homers, and a so-so .261/.325/.361. One homer every 105 at bats. Wimpy.

Then he was signed by the Dodgers and transformed into Popeye: .340 in 288 at bats in 2014 with 7 homers (1 every 41 at bats); 385 at bats in 2015 hitting .294 with 16 homers (1 every 24 at bats); and .275 in 2016, with 27 homers in 556 at bats (1 homer ever 20 at bats, plus a slew of doubles). He slugged between .491 and .493 in each of those last 3 years, by the way.

To me, he looked bulked up with the Dodgers as opposed to his days as an “I’ll-smash-a-pie-in-your-face” Met.

Oh yeah – and due to his bulked up production, he just signed for 4 years, $64 million!!!!  Grandy likes those numbers.

TJ Rivera only has 105 at bats in the majors, but hitting .333, with a very nice 4 doubles, a triple and 3 homers in that stretch, giving him a .476 slugging % in his debut short season, after his .353/.393/.516 spectacular in AAA earlier in 2016, in which he hit 11 homers in 405 at bats.  That’s an overall rate of 1 homer every 36 at bats, a big improvement over his earlier years, but still pretty low.

So, here is my suggestion to TJ:

Bulk that torso up with 15 more pounds of muscle, to 6’1”, 220, to try to generate more power; try to then match Turner’s year by year major league progress; and sign a big bucks contract in a few years…or not take real steps to add power, and be endlessly shuttling back and forth to Vegas for the next several years.  

If it were me, I’d do everything LEGALLY possible to add strength and power – and become a multi-millionaire like JT.





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12/29/16

Eddie Corona - The Core

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This offseason has left fans with mixed emotions… Have they done enough to fill the needs of team for 2017? Are they World Series contender? All good questions however I wondered if we won the 2017 World Series who would be around afterwards. What is the team’s “CORE”.

My definition of a team’s “CORE” is players who will be around 5-7 years. This is usually a combination of being talented, cost effective, and performance. The Cub’s have Bryant, Rizzo, Russell, Schwarber, Lester, Baez, and Arrieta. That’s a lot of names you know of who will form a CORE for years to come.

So who are in the Mets Core? Here’s my list…

In the Core:

Yoenis Cespedes – Acquired summer of 2015 and signed for 4 more years. That would put him at 5 ½ years total and in the middle of the Mets line up.

Noah Syndergaard - Most experts have proclaimed him to be the Mets Ace. His performance in the Wild card game makes that hard to argue. With 6 years left until free agency it is safe that he will be here through those years and hopefully beyond.

Jeurys Familia - Before the domestic violence case he was 100% in. I still suspect he is. His production, salary and lack of replacement mean’s he will not go anywhere.

Jacob Degrom – Probably the Rodney Dangerfield of the Mets. He always seems to have to prove himself. Well he may not be the Ace but he can pitch any big game we need for me.

Not in Core:

Jose Reyes & David Wright – Once the very definition of the team’s CORE however age and injuries have taken the core away from them. Thanks for the Memories

Travis d'Arnaud – May not last the year.

Asdrubal Cabrera, Neil Walker, Curtis Granderson, Rene Rivera, Addison Reed – all have a role in the 2017 Mets however may not be around in 2018.

Jay Bruce – Will not be on the 2017 team and shouldn’t be.

Matt Harvey - I may be his biggest fan but I may be one of the few… Many believe he will go for the last dollar which will probably not come from the NY Mets.

He had the look and the stuff of an ace. Our Dark Knight of Gotham which was good until he was blamed for 2 World Series loses that was not his fault.

Had Cespedes made a simple catch in game one of the World Series on the first batter of the game, then Familia’s game tying homerun would not have made a difference.

Had Lucas Duda been able to throw straight to home plate like 99.9 % of the major leaguers in game five of the World Series then wanting the ball would have been heroic not selfish. Then he was injured again. Alas I believe he will never be part of the future. If he returns to form then we will trade him, otherwise we will not sign him as a free agent.

Might be in CORE:

Steven Matz – He has age, potential and cost effective on his side. He has also been Injury prone. He may be the chip used in a blockbuster trade or he may be the number 2 starter besides Syndergaard for the next 5 years. It is still not clear.

Zack Wheeler – Many have soured on Mr. Wheeler but he was once thought of having a higher ceiling than Harvey or Degrom. 2017 will decide if he is in or out of the CORE… I believe in him.

Michael Conforto – See Matz and Wheeler Minus the injuries. Still all potential which I believe he will deliver on but could also be traded for other needs.

Lucas Duda - almost signed to a long term contract a couple of years ago. But a bad back and a “all or nothing” approach has made his outlook dull. With a young Dom Smith on the horizon and free agency looming, I expect this to be his last year.

Juan Legares - His reckless play on the field that makes him a joy to watch has also hurt his prospect for the future. If the front office can find a trade partner I expect they will part ways.

Like most teams we have more MAYBE’S than IN. However it is telling that we have so few IN’s that are position players. While there may be some on their way, Rosario or D. Smith, our CORE will have to be made up of pitchers for long term success. We could always trade one of our pitchers for players who would be part of a new CORE… 


So who would you add to the CORE… 
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12/28/16

Reese Kaplan -- If Only It Was 2015 Again...

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Over the weekend people were debating with me about the stagnation of the New York Mets and how Sandy Alderson was able to land talent last year by waiting for it to come to him.

Really?

I did a little checking and verified what I’d suspected.  The Neil Walker for Jon Neise trade took place during the winter meetings and was consummated on December 9th.

The Asdrubal Cabrera signing (which caught most of us by surprise) took place two days later on December 11th

It’s now December 28th and to date the Mets have added zero players to the major league roster above and beyond what they had when the 2016 season ended.  Defenders are quick to point out the Neil Walker QO (which is a foolish waste of money) and the Yoenis Cespedes contract, but those players were indeed there when the season ended. 

I do remember the 2015 season during which there were two late Spring additions – Jerry Blevins for Matt den Dekker (a great trade) and the great Gazoo aka Alex Torres for Cory Mazzoni.  Sometimes you get quality.  Sometimes you get Alex Torres. 

Given the success Jerry Blevins has had while playing for the Mets, some would argue there is merit to waiting.  The flip side, of course, is that the longer you wait the fewer choices will be available.  (And, some might say, if Blevins is so good, why wouldn’t a team with post season aspirations want to keep him, but that’s another rant for another day). 

There are still other bullpen free agents on the board who could help.  Some would include:

  •  Netafali Feliz (turned it on in the latter part of the season)
  • J.P. Howell (Been more good than bad for many years…age should depress his price)
  • Boone Logan (very much a LOOGY)
  • Javier Lopez (mostly good throughout his long career – should not be expensive – music to Sandy’s ears)
  • Jonathan Papelbon (Hey, what’s another despicable person to add to the clubhouse?)
  • Sergio Romo (he showed he’s still got something in the tank)
  • Fernando Salas (was his brief trial here for real or just a benefit of a small sample size?)
  • Joe Smith (too good to remain out there much longer)
  • Drew Storen (will be pricy)
  • Chris Withrow (surprisingly non-tendered after always posting good numbers)
  • Travis Wood (may have found his calling as a reliever)

Trades don’t seem to be his preferred MO for solving problems.  However, should he go that route then it’s anyone’s guess who he would target.  Some clamor for Jay Bruce for a warm bodied reliever primarily to get salary relief.  I’m as frustrated about the inertia as anyone but I have to wonder if Alderson is being unrealistic in his demands for Bruce or Granderson that he’s been unable to consummate a deal.  Once Mark Trumbo, Jose Bautista and Michael Saunders are off the board then perhaps his phone will ring.  It’s a dangerous game, however, as the club has needs to address and thus far is not doing it.  
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12/27/16

Tom Brennan - BATTING CHAMPS ARE HARD TO COME BY

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Tom Brennan: BATTING CHAMPS ARE HARD TO COME BY

Batting champs.  Not easy to be one - unless you're Ty Cobb.

No Met (other than once and future Met Jose Reyes who secured his batting title on the last day of the season a few years back) has won a batting title while playing as a Met. In 55 years.  Ugh. How hard for a Metsie? Just ask two former Mets who got close -  Cleon Jones and John Olerud.

Cleon (now 74) had it all going in 1969.  He looked like a batting champ-to-be at the end of August, when he was hitting an amazing .351. Then an injury-filled September in which he hit just 10 for 44, dropping him to .340 in a batting race he lost to the great Pete Rose.

As a cautionary tale on multi year contracts, Cleon did this at the young age of 26.  At 28, he hit an almost equally impressive .319 in 1971.  However, after 1971 he only accumulated another 1200 or so at bats, hitting a little over .250, and only had 90 at bats past the age of 31. "My talent hath deserted me," he surely must've said.

My other memory of Mr. Jones (besides being called by the name of the Cubs'  Cleo James by Ralph Kiner on many a Kiners Corner) was in 1968, where he hit .297.  He was hitting around .200 in mid May, and soared to nearly .300 by season's end in the Year of the Pitcher.  So I was not surprised by his breakout year in 1969.

The Mets' second valiant try at a batting title was when the Great John Olerud had a spectacular 1998 for them, in which he hit .354, with around a .450 on base % and a .550 slug %.

He was edged out by Colorado's Larry Walker that year. Put them both at sea level and Olerud wins out, though.

However in the Mets minors this year, we had 3 batting title winners. And one guy that just missed tying for one of those titles.  In AAA, the mighty TJ Rivera surged late to hit .353, edging out Brandon Nimmo by 1 point.  If they were tied and needed a tie breaker, it would have gone to Rivera in my books, for outhitting Nimmo after both were called up by the Mets.

Of course, if those 2 had faltered in AAA, 3rd place finisher Gavin Cecchini would have won the PCL AAA title at .325.

In AA, the floundering Phil Evans got promoted to AA very in early 2016 due to an injury to Jeff McNeil.  Like Lou Gehrig, Evans took full advantage by hitting .335 in AA, thereby putting himself back on the radar screen for a future major league call up.

In A ball, Tomas Nido was neither fazed nor fried by the Florida summer heat while catching, and hit .321, well ahead of the second place Florida State League finisher.  Hopefully we will see him in Queens in September 2017 or in 2018.

One thing that makes winning batting titles in the minors tough is having a sufficient number of at bats in that particular league due to the best hitters often getting promoted during the season.  Amed Rosario got promoted mid year from A to AA, leaving him with insufficient at bats to qualify for either league's title.  

He actually hit higher than Evans in AA (.341), but in only 54 games, and hit .324 for the entire season.  I expect a AAA batting title from him in 2017....no pressure, Amed.

As a final "almost won" footnote, 17 year old Andres Giminez in the DSL came in 2nd in hitting with a stellar .350 average.  No doubt he's coming stateside in 2017.

As a final footnote, when the Mets signed Neil Walker for 2017, the likely 2017 National League batting title winner, TJ Rivera, got screwed again.  Hyperbole.  Greatly unlikely that he'd have won the title playing everyday in Queens, but the guy hits everywhere, so who knows?

If you got to the end of this article, you win the reading title.
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Richard Herr - So Whaddya Think? - 7

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The Farm System  - Part Deux
“So whaddya think?”
“Whaddya mean? What do I think?”
“You were talking about the Mets’ farm and the rookies.”
“You might find this hard to believe, but I have a tender spot in my heart for kids coming up out of the minors.”
“You’re right.”
“About what?”
“I do find it hard to believe you have a tender spot in your heart.”
“You have failed to see the very deep vein of sensitivity that runs through my core.”
“No, the only thing I’ve actually seen run through your core are the drinks Percy pours you.”
“You can sometimes display a sad leaning toward sarcasm.”
“Okay--Sandy’s rookies.”
“The geniuses who rank the farm hands only put Gsellman and Rosario in the top 100 around the majors.”
“So?”
“If Sandy’s farm system is so great, why aren’t there more of these guys in the top hundred?”
“Because they don’t feel they’re good enough.”
“Good enough for what? Let’s look at Rivera, Nimmo, and Cecchini. They finished one, two, and three in batting in the PCL.”
“The PCL’s a hitter’s league.”
“So take twenty points off everyone’s average, and they were still the top three.”
“And what does that give us?”
“It gives us that the PCL probably has a whole bunch of guys who are on the top hundred who didn’t hit as well as them.”
“Yeah, but those other guys have more potential.”
“And how good is potential? That and a Metro card gets you a ride on the subway.”
“Provided the Metro card is paid up.”
“That too.”
“So whaddya want to do with these kids?”
“I wanna see them play.”
“Okay, where?”
“That is where that old canker g-naws. How about second base?”
“You’ve got Walker there.”
“I know. That last question was rhetorical.”
“Huh?”
“I think for the second straight year we might be developing 20/20 hindsight about the second base position.”
“You mean Walker...?”
“...Is costing us a whole lot of money for a possible draft choice. Maybe Sandy should have let him go.”
“Who’d play second base then?”
“Well, let me see...You’ve got Reyes, you’ve got Flores, you’ve got Cecchini, you’ve got TJ. Do you think we’ve got a choice there?”
“Could be. Terry likes to have Reyes leading off.”
“And I want to see these younger guys prove themselves.”
“What if they prove themselves to be not good enough?”
“But we got the numbers. We’ve also got some pretty good stats from these guys from last year. With Walker out, Terry played TJ at second and he got a .333 average out of him. Nobody else on the Mets had that kind of average over any appreciable number of at-bats.”
“True.”
“Cecchini had the same average, only with six at-bats, but I’d like to see more of him. I wanna see what they can do over a longer stretch.”
“What about Nimmo?”
“Same thing. He hit a respectable .274 over 73 ABs.”
“Yeah, but he only had one home run.”
“Which almost reached the Shea Bridge. They could try him in center field.”
“They say he don’t play it that well.”
“He’s probably about as good as Grandy, and right now that’s who they got.”
“So Terry can just put the rookies in the lineup.”
“You got two problems relative to that.”
“What are they?”
“One of them is the first word you just said, ‘Terry.’ He likes to look at the back of a guy’s baseball card. Obviously rookies don’t have a lot of impressive numbers there.”
“Okay, so what’s the other problem?”
“If you start a rookie who’s making something like the minimum, you’re probably sitting a guy that the front office signed for a lot more money. Putting an expensive veteran on the bench makes the GM look bad and makes the owner begin to grumble.”
“So whaddya gonna to do?”
“It’s a conundrum.”
“You should stop grumbling. You should be a little more full of holiday cheer.”
“That’s an excellent idea.”
“Whaddya mean?”
“Percy, if you could make your way over to this part of the bar, this fine gentleman just said he wanted to buy me an egg nog.”
“Merry Christmas.”

(Note- Mr. Herr is one of those guys who puts holiday things off until Christmas Eve. Since the site was closed on Saturday, the last part of this posting is a bit belated.)

 Whenever Richard Herr isn’t solving all the Mets’ problems, he spends his time writing humorous science fiction novels.


You can see his books at https://www.amazon.com/Richard-Herr/e/B00J5XBKX4.
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12/26/16

Richard Jones- My Ranking of the Mets Top Ten Prospects

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When it comes to ranking prospect I don't have any complicated equations or philosophies. I put myself in a GMs mindset. I think about being in a conversation about a trade. Who am I most reluctant to include in a trade. That's my number one. I follow that train f thought down the line. If I were a GM I would be more reluctant to give up a player that has some chance at being something special but also is less likely to make it to the majors than a player who is more established and is likely to make it to the majors but most likely as a reserve. Thomas Szapucki is a good example of the former. He is a lefty starter that has the stuff to be something special but his command and delivery are reasons to give doubt to whether he will ever make it. Someone like Brandon Nimmo seems almost certain to have a fairly long major league career but I don't see anything that would lead me to believe he will be an elite major league player.

  There has been a lot written about most of these players. With the more familiar players I didn't feel the need to make a comment when I had nothing to add.

1. Amed Rosario
Rosario should be ready to take over the SS position in 2018. Scouts say he is the best defensive Mets SS prospect since Rey Ordonez with a cannon of an arm. That would put him ahead of Reyes, that's high praise. He also can hit. He is the best Mets prospect at a premium position in quite a while.

2. Robert Gsellman
Las Vegas gets criticized a lot when it comes to venues for developing minor league pitchers. I have a different theory. I think it is among the best venues for developing young pitching. Mental toughness is a must for a major league pitcher. Las Vegas is going to test that mental toughness. When you're stripped of your breaking ball by the Vegas thin air you have two options. Cave in or learn how to pitch because we all have learned that no fastball alone is good enough to blow away hitters at that level.

 I believe Gsellmen chose to learn how to pitch in Vegas rather than caving in. His success in Queens was built on his command of the strike zone. Not just throwing strikes but locating those strikes and changing speeds. I see Gsllemen as a deGrom lite. I think their success as major league pitchers came about in similar ways. The 5th starters slot should be Gsellmen's to lose. Unless Wheeler blows the Mets away in spring training it should be his. Even if everything with the fab five goes perfect I still think there should be plenty of starts for Gsellmen. 4 of the five are coming back from surgeries and the Mets are going to need to limit their innings. Gsellmen gives them the luxury of doing that with a high quality starter. He is important enough to the success of the 2017 rotation that there would be little chance of trading him if it were up to me.

3. Thomas Szapucki
High 90s and a lefty. That's all I need to say about that. He is also younger than Justin Dunn, who is ranked ahead of him in most early 2017 rankings.

4. Dominic Smith
The Mets best offensive prospect. He also has Gold Glove potential at first base.

5. Justin Dunn
The Mets 1st pick in the 2016 draft. features 4 quality pitches, one of those being a high 90s fastball.

6. Brandon Nimmo

7. Gavin Cecchini

8. Desmond Lindsay
His natural athleticism gives him a high ceiling. He produced well at low levels in his first professional season.

9. Marcos Molina
After the fab five made it to the majors he emerged as the Mets number one pitching prospect. Tommy John surgery derailed that. This fall he made his comeback. He looked good in a brief assignment in the Arizona Fall League. Is delivery hasn't changed much. Still little lower body movement and all arm.

10. Andres Gimenez
The highest ceiling shortstop in the Mets system not named Amed Rosario. Still very young and he still has a long way to go.

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Mack Ade – 2017 Resolutions and Predictions

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Good morning.



First, some resolutions -

-         I’m going to try and stop fighting with Stubby on the site… wait, didn’t I ask him to leave? Oh, well.

-         I will continue to do everything I can to add quality writers to the site.

-         I will try not to retire for the third time.

-         I will do what I can to get Kaplan and Metsiac to agree on anything,

-         I will stop saying that Dominic Smith can’t hit home runs.


Now, some early thoughts (I will update these thoughts in the spring on a post just before opening day) on the 2017 season –

-         I believe that Noah Syndergaard will become one of the top three pitchers in the league. He’s that special.

-         I believe we will once again get a sub-par year from Matt Harvey, be it because he injures his pitching arm/shoulder again, or he just doesn’t have the zip on the ball anymore after having his latest surgery.

-         I believe that Jacob deGrom will become the 1-2 ace, just behind Syndergaard.

-   I also think that Steven Matz will continue his maturation as a successful major leave starter

-         I also believe that 2017 will be the year that the Mets do everything they can to sign (with a home town discount) a long term deal with both Syndergaard and deGrom.

-         If he isn’t traded, I believe the next ‘come out of nowhere’ ace on this team will be Robert Gsellman. I expect him to blossom, in Queens, this next season as the SP5.

-         The rising of Gsellman will, IMO, be timed perfectly with the complete burn out of Zack Wheeler. Sadly, I expect him to retire before the end of the year when he has to go under the knife for the third time.

-         I believe that the biggest pitching failure in 2017 will be the collective meh produced by the Mets pen, leaving open for the return of a 28-year old Jenrry Mejia.

-    I really believed that catcher Travis d'Arnaud was going to be the prime
     cut chip of the R.A. Dickey trade, but now I'm not even sure if he has a long term future on this team. I look for 2017 to be another dpwn year for him, especially defensively, and we probably will end the year praying for September 2018 when Tomas Nido walks into the clubhouse.

-         I believe that the Mets infield will continue to produce the most games lost due to injuries, including some games in which the entire opening day infield (Duda, Walker, Cabrera, Wright) will be down at the same time.

-         At the same time, I believe the Mets outfield (whatever that will eventually be) will suffer the least injuries and will lead the team in all hitting categories, especially ones involving power.

-         I look for outfielder Michael Conforto to break out this season and become the kind of hitter he was when he was drafted out of Oregon State. Experts had him ranked as the top hitter in the 2014 draft and I believe we will begin to see this kind of return in 2017. The Mets moved Conforto too quickly and we all need to remember that he only has less than two seasons so far in Queens. He will quietly settle in for years as the Mets’ RFer.

-         I expect the Mets other corner outfielder, Yoenes Cespedes, to have another one of his quality years. I do; however, don’t see him hitting over .300 or hitting over 35 home runs.

-         Right now, I believe the Mets only have three ‘A’ rated (I don’t consider Lugo or Gsellman prospects because of the time they spent in Queens last year) prospects in the pipeline… IF Amed Rosario, OF Wuilmer Beccera, and 1B Dominic Smith… but I believe that will change this year with the emergence/upgrading of P Justin Dunn, C Tomas Nido, OF Desmond Lindsay, and 3B David Thompson. If this is true, it will give the Mets a much easier job in the future to structure deals for established talent. There is an outside chance that the end of the year Top 100 prospect lists have 6-7 players in it.
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12/25/16

Merry Christmas

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Mack's Mets will be closed today for the holiday. 
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12/24/16

Bobby Parnell Signs With Royals

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A minor league deal, no terms disclosed, but the 32 year old released by the Tigers in 2016 is still trying to work his way back from his Tommy John surgery in 2014.
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Happy Hanukkah

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Mack's Mets will be closed today for the holiday...
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12/23/16

Reese Kaplan -- All I Want for Christmas...

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As the holiday weekend begins it seems an appropriate time to revisit the letter to Santa indicating what every Mets fan would like to see for its players and for themselves for the coming year:

Lucas Duda – to be healthy and to recapture that rookie year mojo that saw him hitting .292 on packe for 20 HRs and 100 RBIs rather than the all-or-nothing swinger he’s become

Neil Walker – to be healthy and to net a solid return in a mid-season trade to another club when some combination of Jose Reyes, T.J. Rivera, Wilmer Flores or Gavin Cechhini is deemed capable of manning the position

Asdrubal Cabrera – to be healthy and to maintain his steady level of play at SS even with uber-prospect Amed Rosario breathing down his neck for the shortstop position for the future

David Wright – to become healthy enough to play in at least 100 games

Travis d’Arnaud – to be healthy and to deliver on the offensive promise of 2015 over the course of 140 games

Yoenis Cespedes – to stop playing golf when disabled and to become the latter day version of Carlos Beltran who earned his paycheck and often carried the club on his back for extended periods of time

Curtis Granderson – to say all the right things on his way out of town

Jay Bruce – see Curtis Granderson

Juan Lagares – to hit at least .270 in order to justify playing him on a regular basis to take advantage of his fielding and his throwing

Wilmer Flores and T.J. Rivera – R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me!

Rene Rivera – some Vulcan mind meld capabilities to impart whatever it is that makes pitchers like to throw to him to Travis d’Arnaud

Jose Reyes – a positive attitude as a super sub without a clearly defined starting role (which means the rest of the club is surprisingly healthy)

Matt Harvey – may the only ribs he misses come from Blue Smoke or Dinosaur Barbecue

Jacob de Grom – enough health to challenge Noah Syndergaard for the mantle of ace of the staff

Noah Syndergaard – a pickoff move

Steve Matz – a consultation with the Six Million Dollar Man’s doctors to give him a new left arm

Zack Wheeler – to emerge from the Where’s Waldo purgatory in which he’s existed since 2014

Jeurys Familia – the complete DVD box set of Charlie Sheen’s “Anger Management”

Addison Reed – to become the best ever Mets pitcher by that name, eclipsing Rick

Hansel Robles – that his regular pitches are as effective as his quick ones

Sandy Alderson – to understand there’s a reason to pay for bakery fresh over day old markdowns

Terry Collins – Gingko Biloba to help him to remember how to play small ball

Mets fans – the Costco sized drum of antacid for what thus far looks to be a long and frustrating season
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Tom Brennan –Yoenis Cespedes vs. Lucas Duda

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Tom Brennan –Yoenis Cespedes vs. Lucas Duda 


Could a little tweak in Lucas Duda’s game give him Yoenis Cespedes production?  What do the numbers say? Can Cespedes do better? Let's see...

Simply, Duda and Cespedes are remarkably similar when their at career bats end with 0 or 1 strike (on a 0-0, 1-0, 2-0, 3-0, 0-1, 1-1, 2-1, or 3-1 pitch), which I refer to as "favorable counts.".


FAVORABLE COUNTS:

Duda’s splits, when his at bats end in those counts, are .347/.454/.654.

Cespedes’ splits, when his ABs end in those counts, are .364/.430/.674

Virtually interchangeable.

The problem for Duda is only 46.2% of his ABs end on those favorable counts, while Cespedes’ figure is 49.7%.   Duda’s lower rate means 90 less plate appearances ending in those counts than if he achieved Cespedes’ rate.  Stay with me here.


UNFAVORABLE COUNTS:

There is regression for Duda vs. Cespedes here (where at bats end with an unfavorable 0-2, 1-2, 2-2, or 3-2 count), but Cespedes is not good in those counts either:

Duda’s splits, when his at bats end in those counts, are ugly: .163/.254/.281

Cespedes’ splits, when his ABs end in those counts, are UGH: .185/.242/.323

Both are poor on those counts, but Cespedes hits 22 points higher, and has 42 points higher on his slugging %.

 

ON AT BATS ENDING ON FIRST PITCH:

Duda only puts the ball in play (or gets hit by a pitch) on the first pitch he sees 8.3% of the time.  Cespedes?  8.2%.  Both are clearly allergic to attacking the first pitch.   The more aggressive Daniel Murphy’s first pitch-ending-an-at-bat rate is 12.9%, 55% higher than those 2 guys.  No accident that his career batting average is much higher.


HERE ARE MY DUDA / CESPEDES TAKEAWAYS:

  1. Both hit incredibly better when the count does not slide to 2 strikes.
  2. Both frustratingly take a lot of early strikes, despite the fact that they hit drastically better when they don’t allow themselves to get to 2 strikes.
  3. Duda has a greater (and quite huge) production disparity between favorable and unfavorable counts, and hence a huge incentive to be more aggressive early in counts, especially with his free agency looming.
  4. Cespedes would be a superstar if he stopped taking as many early count pitches.  He is already close to being one, despite his reluctance to attack first pitches.
  5. Duda is about to turn 31,  Cespedes recently turned 31.  Both well enough along in Major League Doggie Years to immediately address and correct those flaws.

What do you think, readers? 
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and happy holidays to y'all.
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